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You Get One Free Ticket On Museum Day. Make It Count, LA

Bob Dylan and his acoustic guitar is featured in a display about music and social change at the Grammy Museum, one of several museums in Los Angeles that are offering free admission on Saturday, Sept. 21. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
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Saturday, Sept. 21 is Museum Day in L.A. (and the rest of the country), which means free admission to many museums that would typically cost you money.

The annual event is hosted by Smithsonian magazine, and it's meant to encourage museums to get into the spirit of spreading knowledge and learning for free -- which is the M.O. of the D.C. Smithsonian Institution, where all the facilities are free every day.

Bottom line: It's a great chance to check out museums you may have always wanted to visit, or may not have even heard of.

We've rounded up some of the participating locations around Los Angeles, but first, the rules. Here's what you need to know:

  • You need a ticket.
  • Only one ticket allowed per email account.
  • One ticket gets you plus a guest into one museum of your choice on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
  • "Choose wisely!" Smithsonian warns on its website. "There are no takebacks, once you select a museum, you will not be able to change your selection."
  • You must actually present your ticket for free admission -- you can't just show up and enter for free.
  • Some museums will let you to show your ticket digitally, others require a printed ticket. Read the instructions carefully.
  • If it's too crowded you might get turned away. Museums have the right to limit entry.
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Grab your ticket here and double check the full roster before you commit, just in case any museums have been added late to the list.


4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $14)

Co-founded in 1988 by actor-musicians Gene Autry and Monte Hale and their wives, Jackie and Joanne, the Autry features Native American art, film memorabilia, historic firearms, cowboy tools, interactive exhibits and live programs. It also claims to have one of the largest collections of Native American materials in the U.S.

Current exhibits include a history of Griffith Park, works by Native American artist Harry Fonseca that focus on the trickster Coyote, "Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley," and a kid-friendly interactive Western movie set.

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217 Metropole Avenue, Avalon, CA 90704

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $17)

You're going to need a boat for this one. Established in 1953, this museum was originally housed on the ground floor of the island's iconic Casino building, but in 2016 moved to its own facility inside the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building.

The museum tells the history of the island and includes a collection of pottery and tile manufactured from 1927-1937, plus photographs documenting island life from the early 1880s. The museum also claims one of the largest collections of Tonga and Gabrielino artifacts in the world.

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Current exhibitions include a 100-year retrospective on owner William Wrigley Jr. (yes, that Wrigley -- you get a free stick of gum with your visit), and Esther Williams, the Hollywood "aqua musical" star and champion swimmer whose 1955 "Jupiter's Darling" was filmed on the island.

4251 Dry Creek Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $12)

A Grumman A-6E photographed at the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles. (Bill Abbott via Flickr Creative Commons)

Chartered in 1992, this museum is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of military aircraft and memorabilia and honors the service of veterans from World War I through the Gulf War. It was named after the World War II Estrella Army Air Force Base, which was located at the current site of the Paso Robles Municipal Airport. You can expect to find plenty of early aircraft and even recently retired fighter jets, along with jeeps, antique ambulances and old weapons.

6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90045

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $5 requested donation)

The Flight Path Museum claims to be the only aviation museum and research center actually located at a major airport.

The focus here is on learning about Southern California aviation and aerospace, and you'll have an opportunity to look inside a real DC-3, peruse countless models and memorabilia, explore the space gallery, learn more about the Apollo program 50 years on, and take a guided tour. It also has a large collection of vintage airline uniforms.

800 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $15 and discounted to $12 during renovations)

Here's where you can rock out, respectfully. Photos, instruments, documents, wardrobe and other musician memorabilia is on display along with interactive, multimedia experiences. Current exhibits focus on The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Motown, the history of music in baseball, and more.

100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Museum Day hours: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $16)

This museum was founded in 1985 as a place to explore heritage and the experience of being in America. Currently, there's a multimedia exhibition about the political identity of Asian Pacific Americans and a 130-year chronicle of Japanese American history displaying hundreds of objects, documents, photographs and part of a barracks structure from a World War II internment camp.

Berth 84, Foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $5 suggested donation)

Learn how a mudflat became the nation's busiest port. Exhibits include the story of Terminal Island and the Japanese American fishermen and cannery workers who called the area home before World War II. There's also the history of a cold war nuclear submarine, and an interactive area for kids about the operation of a busy container port.

628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

Museum Day hours: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $10)

Explore modern and contemporary Latino and Latin American art at this museum, which sits on the former site of a major silent movie studio, which was later turned into a popular skating rink.

Take a guided tour at 2 p.m. or just peruse the more than 1,600 works of art.

Current exhibits include a series by South American artist Tomás Ochoa on Colombia's landscape, architecture and people; works by Argentinian artist Matías Duville that evoke "a dreamlike vision of a wandering explorer, like a mental landscape"; and a portfolio series on Cuban artist Osmeivy Ortega, who "has been recognized as one of the most promising artists in the printmaking world of the Caribbean."

623 13th St., Paso Robles, CA 93446

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $7)

A 1944 Mack fire truck is featured at the Paso Robles Children's Museum. (Paso Robles via Flickr Creative Commons)

Located at the Paso Robles Volunteer Firehouse, this museum aims to engage children in interactive learning and play while honoring firefighters.

Kids can climb on "Old Mack," a fire engine built in 1944, while dressing up in firefighter coats and hats and checking out a recreation of an old fire station, complete with a dummy firefighter sliding down the station's original pole. Other exhibits include a "toolbox piano," a grape stomp and a mini market with tiny carts where children do the shopping.

315 W Torrance Blvd, Carson, CA 90745

Museum Day hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $10)

Learn about the history of books and printing while you explore what this museum calls one of the world's most significant collections of antique printing machinery. Check out some of the earliest iron presses and learn more about their development over time.

46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101

Museum Day hours: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum Day price: FREE (regularly $10)

Launched in 1971 at the former site of the Pasadena Art Museum, and partnering with USC in 2013, this museum's collection has grown to more than 17,000 objects spanning 4,000 years, including paintings and drawings from Edo Japan, Chinese ceramics and textiles, Buddhist art and more.

The current exhibit, "Following the Box," features photographs that were taken in India toward the end of World War II by an unknown U.S. Serviceman, along with new creative work by two American and 10 Indian artists, to create a dialogue across time, space and culture.


Note: You maybe don't want to use your free Museum Day ticket on one of these since they're already free, but you do you.